Run for Recess Marathon Team Profile

  1. Updates

Each week leading up to the Boston Marathon, Playworks will be featuring a new member of our Run for Recess Marathon Team. Starting off the weekly installment is Playworks very own Kelsea Gusk! Go inside the mind of Kelsea and learn more about her reasons for joining the marathon team and much more!

1. What compelled you to run as a member of Playworks Run For Recess marathon team?
I have wanted to run the Boston Marathon since I moved to Boston in 2005. In college every year I cheered on the runners on Beacon Street, while admiring the challenge of the race. I was a member of Boston University’s rowing team and so we ran as cross training but I started running more after graduation. My first race was a half-marathon last fall. Since then I’ve been running consistently and so running the Boston Marathon seems like the next step. In addition I get to raise money and awareness for Playworks, where I have been working the last two years. I feel strongly about the work that my coworkers and I do on a daily basis and I feel lucky represent this organization.

2.    How long have you been running competitively?  Any other marathons?
This is my first marathon, and I’m starting to get nervous! I ran the Hartford Half marathon in the fall of 2009, but I’d say I’m still learning to run competitively.

3.    What is your favorite place to run?
I always add in Charles Street to my runs if I can. It’s this small street in Beacon Hill with great window displays and paved sidewalks. Normally people are shopping so I weave in and out of them, so it’s not ideal but then I get out to the Boston Commons or the river path, so it’s a nice mid-run distraction.

4.    If this is your first marathon, what did you expect coming into training and how have your expectations changed?
I’m a pretty competitive person and so I entered into training with a pretty ambitious goal time. However, I sprained my ankle early in January. I didn’t complete any runs for about 3 weeks, which put me behind my initial training plan. I’m feeling solid about my training recently though and have now been planning out how to feel good about finishing this first marathon.  I’ve heard your goal should be just to finish the first, race the second. I’m going by that theory.

5.    With the Boston Marathon being the world’s oldest annual marathon and one that is very tough to enter, how accomplished as a runner do you feel now that you’re part of it?
My feelings can best be quoted by the genius Ron Burgundy, “I don’t know how to put this, but people know me. I’m kind of a big deal.”

Seriously though, I’m honored to be a part of such an old tradition and come race day I know I’ll be so impressed by all the other amazing runners who will be participating in the marathon.

6.    If you could have dinner with three people (alive or deceased) who would they be?
1) Isabella Stewart Gardner, namesake to the Gardener Museum in Boston. She is one of my idols; she collected art and lived a very full life in a time where women were still establishing their rights. She established a large philanthropic legacy in Boston.

2) Kevin Garnett, I watched him playing basketball while growing up in Minnesota and he is the reason I love the game. His energy would be amazing to be around.

3) Gabriel Garcia Marquez, my favorite author. He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1982. He uses magical realism in most of his novels and short stories. I think he’d have a few good stories to tell over dinner.

7.    Favorite Food?
I hate listing just one food, but my favorite food experience is grilling in the summer, Juicy Lucy’s (burgers with cheese in the middle) corn on the cob, and brats.

8.    Favorite Movie?
The Princess Bride

9.    What do you think will be going thru your mind once you get close to the finish line?
Hopefully I’ll be prepared enough to enjoy the moment, I’m sure I’ll be feeling my legs. I know that all the people who have supported me on this journey and my students at the Young Achievers will all be big motivators coming into the last stretch of the race.

10. Any superstitious rituals that you have before you participate in a race?
In college I followed the same routine before most races, but it’s pretty basic. Eat something full of carbs the day and night before, drink a lot of water and think through the plan for the next day. I do plan out every single step the day or night before though so I’m not left with any surprises on race day.

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Principal Coleen Smith
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